Modern medicine meets acupuncture: a podiatrist’s perspective.
Treating the body’s pains and ills with acupuncture may make those accustomed to Western evidence-based medicine raise their eyebrows. Nevertheless, Western medical science recognises the benefits of acupuncture, particularly in the context of pain relief. This begs the question of whether ancient Chinese doctors have been right about “qui,” a mysterious energy that flows through our bodies along specific channels or meridians. Mark Lin, a Sydney Sports Podiatrist who uses “Western Medical Acupuncture” in his practice, says that if the terminology is changed, it all starts to make sense.
Substitute the nervous system for “Meridians” and its signals for “Qi”. While any one capable of critical thinking may be tempted to reject the concepts of “qi” and “meridians,” ancient Chinese doctors understood that some form of energy followed specific pathways, and that disruptions to this system could cause pain. If this thinking is translated into modern scientific language, one could consider the nervous system and the signals it sends as being the equivalents of these early attempts at describing neurological mechanisms, says Lin.
It is certainly true that Western medical science accepts the possible benefits of acupuncture, particularly in pain relief. “It is accepted that acupuncture needles will stimulate certain nerve endings, and that this form of stimulation could alter the way in which the brain interprets or inhibits pain signals,” says Lin. “If a person considers the meridians and trigger points identified by ancient Chinese doctors, one can see similarities between them and the routes of neural pathways with known neurological pain referral patterns.”
In his practice, Mark Lin chooses acupuncture to assist patients suffering from conditions ranging from diabetic neuropathy to Raynaud’s Disease and even excessively sweaty feet. Mark Lin explains that acupuncture is particularly helpful in relieving pain and inflammation, and with these obstacles removed, healing can occur more quickly.
Other neurological symptoms, including perpetually cold feet, constant “pins and needles” tingling, or a sensation of burning heat in the feet also respond well to Lin’s acupuncture treatments. “These ailments are surprisingly common, and in many instances, my patients have been led to believe that they have no option but to learn to live with them. However, acupuncture treatments often help with the management of these conditions,” he says.
Acupuncture doesn’t hurt, and it can even be done without needles. While the idea of stimulating the nervous system in new ways may seem like an option worth trying, many people are concerned that the treatment may be painful, and some even have a phobia for needles. Mark points out that acupuncture needles are incredibly fine, far finer than those used to give injections. “They’re seven times smaller than other medical needles,” says Lin. “There is no pain.”
However, those who can’t bear the thought of a treatment using needles of any kind can opt for Low Level Laser Therapy which uses light rather than needles and which offers a slew of scientifically-proven benefits in the treatment of a variety of other ailments.
Mark Lin uses acupuncture as an adjunct to other treatment strategies and applies it in accordance with accepted medical research. However, not all podiatrists will do so, and Mark believes that the addition of acupuncture to treatments is often beneficial to his patients, helping them to experience faster relief from discomfort and accelerated healing.
“Although supported by scientific evidence, not all practitioners are trained or equipped to apply treatments such as these. At the Footwork Clinic, a combination of approaches are applied to the treatment of lower limb ailments, and we believe that this is one of the reasons why many of our patients report positive results they were unable to achieve elsewhere,” say Lin.
It is not just for sportspeople. Although the Footwork Clinic specialises in “sports podiatry,” Mark Lin says that his clinic assists people of all ages and from all walks of life. “It’s about mobility without pain – the freedom to get on their feet and be active without injuring themselves. Although sportspeople exact a higher demand on their bodies, everybody needs mobility in order to enjoy quality of life. When it comes to issues affecting the feet and lower limbs, we can help. Acupuncture is just one of our treatment methods, and the treatment protocols we suggest to our patients will be based on their individual needs.”
For further information, visit the The Footwork Clinic – Leading Sports, Podiatry, Foot And Lower Limb Corrective Services to book online, or call Mark Lin or his friendly team on +61 2 9131 6891.
Click here to chat with The Footwork Clinic LIVE on Facebook Messenger.
The information contained in this guide is provided in good faith and is not intended to be nor is it to be used as a substitute for any sort of professional, medical or podiatric advice. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a podiatrist. Any users should always seek the advice of their podiatrist, or other qualified healthcare providers before commencing any treatment.
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